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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

How many servers can I install SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition on? I'd like to set up a backup server in case my main one dies. I'm not too familiar with what SQL Server Failover actually does. I'd prefer that if the main server dies I'd like to restore the database onto the backup server manually from a backup and switch over to the backup server. Is that possible with the Standard Edition or would I actually have to buy two Standard Editions?

Maybe this is what really Failover is, but I'm not too clear on what it actually does. I've done some reading on it, but I'm still confused.

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marked as duplicate by RobM, Iain Jan 27 '12 at 16:52

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

up vote 2 down vote accepted

SQL Server Failover Clustering refers to a configuration where you install identical instances of Microsoft SQL Server on 2 or more nodes in a Windows Failover Cluster, place your database and log files on a clustered disk and register the SQL Server Service in the same Application Group as a clustered network name and IP address. When one physical server (cluster node) fails, or gets rebooted, the SQL Server instance is brought online on one of the other nodes and you can quickly reconnect to your database.

A configuration like this ensures high-availability, but has nothing to do with manually restoring the databases in case of a failure

If you only use one SQL Instance at any one time (a so-called Active/Passive failover cluster configuration), you only need one license.

Read more on SQL Server Failover Clustering here:

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Do you know if Microsoft actually lets you install the same license key on two different servers? Or do I actually have deactivate the key on one server and activate it on the other when the server crashes? – Jeff Stock Jan 20 '12 at 16:02
1 SQL Server Standard Edition license can be used (only) twice in one cluster configuration. If you need more than 2 nodes in an SQL Server Failover Cluster, you'll need the Enterprise version of SQL Server There's not much point to installing an automatic high-availability feature if you need to reconfigure the setup manually each time you need it. – Mathias R. Jessen Jan 20 '12 at 16:22

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